A Pygmy-Owl Challenge

Many people think that what we call “Northern Pygmy-Owl” may contain somewhere between two and four species, based on regional differences in vocalizations. Nobody knows exactly where the changes between these songtypes occur, or how abrupt they are, because we just don’t have enough data. Now, my friend Arch McCallum is setting out to get to the bottom of this tricky situation — and you can help. [Read more]

Mountain Quail after all?

Don Roberson of Creagrus fame sent me an interesting and provocative email in response to the old pygmy-owl vs. chipmunk thread (1 2). With his permission, I’m reproducing it here for discussion. [Read more]

Pygmy-Owl vs. Chipmunk

In addition to the comments on my recent pygmy-owl post, I got five private emails, all of which implicated Merriam’s Chipmunk as the likely source of the pygmy-owl-like sound. In this post I examine the evidence for chipmunk origin of the sound. [Read more]

Pygmy-Owl Confusion

On 12 January 2009, my friend Andrew Spencer recorded an unseen creature on Chews Ridge in Monterey County, California. To my ear it sounds like a Northern Pygmy-Owl, but a few things about this and Doug Von Gausig’s recording are strange. Are they representatives of an anomalous local dialect? Or of a different type of vocalization than the primary song? Are they not even pygmy-owls at all? [Read more]